Surfnet logo

Family Communication Portal

This is an ongoing project.

Currently there is a need to bridge the technology gap between aging adults in assisted and retired living facilities and their children and grandchildren. Aging adults in these facilities become easily frustrated when trying to learn newer communication technologies and often times, give up. There is a need for a basic system to bridge this gap so that an easier communication system will talk to the more complex systems that younger generations use. As the baby boomer generation gets older, there will be a larger population of older adults that need an easier system to communicate with their family and friends. Many of the baby boomer generation are technology savvy, however, as memory and cognitive abilities start to diminish, they will need a system to continue communicating with ease.


The problem that needs to be solved is creating a system that is easy to learn and used by aging adults that do not have the ability or desire to learn and use popular communication forms in today’s society. This project will examine the user interface design of a communication system for aging adults in assisted and retirement living facilities.


While others have explored enhancing the communication with loved ones living in health facilities temporarily and enhancing reminiscing and conversation with aging adults and their families in retirement and assisted living facilities, no one has explored creating communication system that is customizable and for aging adults permanently living in retirement and assisted living facilities. This system will provide asynchronous and synchronous communication for the aging adult and their friends and family. The communication system currently includes a message center, calendar, family tree and photo album, phonebook, video calling, and aging adult status update system to notify the family how they are doing.